Arrested for Destructive Device Possession in South Plainfield NJ
Labor Day and the parades that commemorate the holiday are an important part of town life throughout New Jersey. South Plainfield has held a Labor Day parade every year for the last 62 years and the event has never been canceled, even during the Great Recession. Grand Marshals move in procession down Hamilton Avenue as parade-goers line up along the street, and local restaurants often see their busiest day of the year on Labor Day. All of that changed, unfortunately, on Labor Day 2019. The parade was canceled for the first time in decades after police found what they described as over half a dozen explosive devices on a man’s property adjoining the parade route.
The investigation into the South Plainfield weapons case began on the Sunday prior when someone left a suspicious package containing what police have described as a destructive device outside Donovan’s Reef, a bar in New Jersey. Police were able to identify a suspect associated with that package, and they later learned that the suspect may have had other destructive devices at his property along the South Plainfield Labor Day parade route.
Law enforcement then swept the property on the Monday of Labor Day and allegedly found more destructive devices. Police then searched a nearby office building and pool complex to determine if there were more destructive devices involved, but they did not find any more. The suspect, a South Plainfield man and a resident on the property involved, was arrested and charged with two counts of possessing a destructive device. The defendant’s brother reportedly claimed that this was all a misunderstanding, and the “destructive devices” found were actually just fireworks.
Facing Destructive Devices Charge in South Plainfield
You can be charged with destructive devices for possessing any number of items in New Jersey. N.J.S.A. 2C:39-3a criminalizes the possession of a “destructive device”, stating that anyone who knowingly possesses a destructive device is guilty of a third degree indictable offense. But the statute does not exhaustively list objects that qualify as destructive devices. A separate statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-1, provides some clarification, noting that destructive devices can include objects designed to explode or combust, such as explosives, mines, grenades, incendiary bombs, a Molotov cocktail or similar device, and certain devices that can fire greater than 60-caliber ammunition.
Homemade bombs, dynamite, C4, and other explosives may thus qualify as explosive devices, but prosecutors have some leeway in arguing the precise definition of that term. Your attorney may be able to argue against the prosecutor’s definition by showing that the object was intended for a justifiable, legal purpose, not to be used as a “destructive device.” The defenses that apply depend on the specific facts of your case.
Consequences of Possessing Destructive Devices
If you are convicted of possessing a destructive device anywhere in New Jersey, this is a third degree indictable offense that can subject you to serious penalties. These penalties include three to five years in prison and fines of up to $15,000. Moreover, if you are convicted of multiple counts of possessing a destructive device for more than one of these items, the penalties can be compounded significantly.
Criminal Defense Lawyer who Handles Weapons Charges in South Plainfield New Jersey
You should consult an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately if you are charged with possession of a destructive device in South Plainfield or any other town in Middlesex County or New Jersey, as the penalties for these crimes are harsh. Our team of criminal defense lawyers handles all types of weapons charges in Middlesex County Superior Court, including unlawful possession of weapons and possession of weapons for unlawful purposes. We can help with every aspect of your case, including your detention hearing, Central Judicial Processing (CJP) court, Pre-Indictment Conference, plea negotiations, and trial. If you or a loved one has been been arrested for a weapon in South Plainfield, contact our local offices in Middlesex County at (732) 659-9600 for immediate assistance. Our consultations are always provided free of charge and entirely confidential. Also please feel free to reach us online to talk more about your specific weapons charges.
For more information about the specific case described, access the following resource: How explosives forced N.J. town to cancel Labor Day parade for first time in 62 years